Expert warns too much exercise could jeopardise weight loss efforts

Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning

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The 2022 Government report stated obesity is “associated with reduced life expectancy and is a risk factor for a range of chronic diseases”. Carrying excess weight could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver and respiratory disease. Speaking exclusively to, lead nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt cautioned that working out too hard, in order to get healthier, could jeopardise your weight loss efforts.

Svanfeldt explained: “If you incorporate too much endurance training in your week, you’ll burn more calories and feel an increase in hunger.

“This can make it challenging to stick to an energy deficit (where you eat less energy than you burn), which is required if you want to lose weight.”

Svanfeldt advised: “Instead, aim for a balance of endurance and strength training along with a balanced diet in line with your energy requirement.

“Using a tracking tool like Lifesum can help you to stay on track on your journey towards your health goal.”

Regular physical activity is still vital in order to lose weight, with the key being to burn off more calories than you consume.

“Regular physical activity is great for our overall health and wellbeing but there’s no need to have an excessive workout routine in order to lose weight, or visceral fat,” said Svanfeldt.

What is visceral fat?

Differing from the rolls of skin you can pinch in between your fingers, visceral fat is inside of the body. elaborated to state that visceral fat is “stored around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines”.

The biologically active fat “plays a distinctive and potentially dangerous role affecting how our hormones function”.

An excess of visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.

Larger quantities of visceral fat increases the risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease.

“A relatively good indicator of visceral fat is to take a waistline measurement,” notes.

Adding to this notion is the British Heart Foundation; the charity highlights that a man’s waist should ideally be below 38 inches and, for women, 31.5 inches.

Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), Svanfeldt added: “WHO generally recommended that adults include at least 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week.

“Or at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intense aerobic activity (or a combination of the two).

“Plus strength training that activates larger muscle groups at least two days per week.”

Svanfeldt continued: “Many believe that you need to incorporate as much endurance training as possible in your workout to lose weight.

“However, nutrition is the number one factor when it comes to weight loss.”

Svanfeldt recommends a “nutritious, and balanced diet in line with your energy requirement”.

Signe Svanfeldt is the lead nutritionist at Lifesum, the healthy eating app.


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